God cares about my workouts!

God truly does want to be involved in all of the details of our lives. He cares about everything that concerns us. I didn’t work out today, but God did offer me¬†some much-needed encouragement and guidance.

I was cleaning up my son’s room when I saw an unflattering view of my upper arms in the mirror. My first thought was that I hadn’t worked out all week. I always give myself leeway about exercise around Christmas because it is very difficult to fit into the already (very) long to-do list.

While I was thinking about how I would start exercising again regularly next week, God spoke to me. He pointed out that I kept going back to my workouts even after having repeated injuries and health trouble this year. I was busy accusing myself of weakness in my mind, and God diffused that by showing me how I kept on trying, and I didn’t give up.

I’m not at my goal weight. I have cellulite on my upper arms. ūüôā And I didn’t work out this week. But I know that I am loved and cared for by the Lord. He showed me mercy when I felt disappointed with myself. Instead of missed workouts, He turned my thoughts to how I keep beginning again. God was there for me, right when I needed Him.

God’s lifetime love

In Isaiah Chapter 46, verses 3-7, God the Father says,”Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” [NIV Bible]

This Scripture tells us that God loves us from the very beginning of our lives, when we are first conceived, and all the way through our old age. We are valued by God throughout our lives. Our worth to God doesn’t decrease with our age. That’s because God’s love isn’t dependent on us looking a certain way or being able to do all of the things we used to do when we were younger. The world values youth, looks and accomplishments. God values people who believe that His Son took the punishment for all of our sins so that we would be able to have a close relationship with Him. We don’t have to be glamorous, handsome or pretty. We don’t need to be a certain weight or make a certain amount of money in order for Him to see us as precious. God’s love is truly unconditional.

God wants to love you, guide you and help you all of the days of your life. Your standing with God is secure when you accept Jesus as your Savior. God wants us to trust in His love for us. He wants us to believe that He will help us when we are facing tough times, and not to doubt that He is working behind the scenes to bring good things into our lives. Whatever you may be facing, God knows, and He always wants to help you. Talk to Him, tell Him your feelings, VENT! Your relationship with God is not tenuous. He won’t reject you for being honest. If you are angry or unforgiving, talk to Him about it. Ask Him what to do, and ask Him for His help to do it. If you are in the grip of an addiction, understand that many people are! God has heard it all, and He won’t be shocked at anything you have to say. Above all, God accepts you and He is always willing to give you a fresh start. What better time to start drawing close to God by trusting Him with all of your life, being open and honest with Him and believing that He will take care of you.

Even strong Christians may disappoint us

As I wrote in one of my previous posts, we are all human. We make mistakes without intending to.¬†We hurt someone by forgetting something important to them. We hurt them¬†with sharp words or maybe no words at all (AKA the¬†“silent treatment). The Holy Spirit is faithful to point out this unlovely behavior to us so that we can do something about it. Maybe that means that next time, we’ll guard against saying something hurtful. Or we’ll hold our tongues when we really want to criticize someone (yes, even when we know we’re right!)

I was disappointed in a sermon I heard recently from one of my favorite televangelists. I won’t name names, because I respect him, and I understand that nobody’s perfect, not even a well-loved pastor. His sermon was about doing the best you can with what God gives you. He talked about giving your all at work, as if you were working for God Himself. He talked about the importance of taking care of the things God has blessed us with, such as our homes and cars. He said that we give glory to God when we appreciate what He gives us enough to take good care of it.

When he started talking about not going out unless you look your best, he lost me. I thought it sounded a little worldly to suggest that we be “put together” every time we venture out into public. As Christians we represent our Lord to the world. I can see how looking unkempt might give a bad impression to someone who knows you’re a Christian. But I think that for most people, we go out looking less than our best when we have to, due to time constraints, schedules, illness etc. I can’t speak for the men, but I know I would love to have my makeup on and my hair looking good every time I go out, but sometimes, I have to dash to the store before my shower, wearing yesterday’s makeup and frizzy hair. But I don’t believe that weakens my witness. I am being real, and doing the best I can, and I am sure a lot of people can identify with that.

As the pastor went on to advocate hitting the salon and replacing worn out clothing, his valid points seemed to comingle a little too much with our image-obsessed culture and rampant consumerism. Those parts of his message struck a sour chord with me, because I often don’t look my best, due to chronic pain and fatigue. Even though I didn’t agree with all of his message, I do understand that he was doing his best. And it served as a reminder to me that I, too, do things that disappoint other people. I may use an angry tone with my husband, or rush conversations with my kids when they really want me to listen more. All of us are guilty of disappointing or hurting other people, and a lot of times, we don’t even know we did it. So it keeps me humble to realize that although people sometimes offend me, they probably didn’t mean to, and as it says in Proverbs¬† Chapter 19, verse 11, A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. [NIV Bible]

God’s mercy and grace are amazing!

God showed His mercy and His grace to¬†me¬†on Saturday night. I was riding home with my husband from a shopping trip, and my lower back started feeling numb. I’ve had various neurological symptoms throughout the last 15 years, so I am accustomed to having to overlook a lot, but lower back numbness is unnerving.

In 2000, the year before I was saved, I went numb from the waist down. It was late into the evening, and I started to notice losing feeling in my waist and my hips. It spread through my legs and into my feet. I could still walk, but I had to watch my feet since I couldn’t feel my legs.

It was a very difficult time for me, because I was being evaluated for MS (I don’t have it), and I had just had a brain MRI done earlier that week. So going numb from the waist down was very upsetting, and they couldn’t do anything for me at the hospital, because they had no explanation for why it was happening. They couldn’t access the MRI I had done because it wasn’t¬†at a facility affiliated with that hospital. So I left without any answers, but I was just glad to be going home, and not¬† being admitted.

A few hours after I got back home, I started to feel my lower back again, and it was very painful for several hours after that. I slowly regained feeling in my lower body, and I was beyond relieved! I was still scared and concerned that it would happen again. This was one part of the circumstances that led to my turn to God. I was having a number of health issues, and some (like the aforementioned) were truly terrifying. I felt betrayed by my own body, and I hated feeling weak.

Ultimately, I became a saved Christian in the midst of physical and emotional turmoil. I just couldn’t handle it alone anymore. My family was helpful to me, but I needed the kind of help that only God can give. Yesterday, I revisited the symptoms that freaked me out so much 12 years ago, and the outcome was completely different.

When I started feeling the numbness in my lower back last night, I felt fear for a very short period of time. Then I remembered that God wants to show me mercy, and He wants to give me His grace. God’s grace is a free gift of favor that¬†He gives to us. I prayed immediately, asking God to remove this attack on my body. I told God I trusted Him to help me, and I focused my mind on other things. It wasn’t that hard to do because I knew that God wanted to bless me and help me. Ten minutes later, the numbness was gone, and I was praising God for helping me and healing me! Not only did He answer my prayer, but He also gave me even more of His grace by removing my anxiety.

I would encourage you to bring your troubles and your fears to Him. He is your ever present source of help, comfort and guidance. He’s available 24/7, and you will be rewarded for putting your trust in Him and believing that He will take care of you.

Set reachable goals.

About a month ago, God revealed to me that it is very important to set goals that are doable. Setting overly ambitious goals can undermine our confidence if we don’t meet them. We can become discouraged and down on ourselves if we can’t live up to an idealized vision of who we should be and what we should be accomplishing.

This word I got from God was very simple: get some little victories going now. Do the things you know you can get done. When we take these smaller steps, we start to trust ourselves more to follow through on what we start. Confidence comes when we finish even small tasks, because we know we are capable, and that we can get ‘er done! (That’s for any Larry the Cable Guy fans out there, myself included)

Satan tries to defeat us by making us believe that we have to have large accomplishments to feel good about ourselves. This sets us up either to fail or to put all of our energies and focus¬†exclusively into our pursuits. Family time, time for praying and studying the Bible, time for fun and relaxation get pushed aside by ambition. There’s nothing wrong with setting challenging long term goals, unless they can only be achieved at the expense of our relationships with our families and with God. The Holy Spirit is an integral part of our decision making team, because He can guide¬†us toward activities that¬†will increase our confidence without overwhelming¬†us with endless obligations.

Are you human, too? Join the club…

Hello! I’m glad to have you with me today! I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks now, and I regret that. It’s so hard to get into a new habit, even when it’s something important that you really want to do.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time writing the things that I want you to be able to read any time you come to this website. My table of contents, if you will. But I know it’s time to start posting regular entries, putting my daily life as¬†a Christian out there so that you can get to know me. No time like the present, right?

I prayed today, asking God’s forgiveness for neglecting this blog. I have been gritting my teeth and getting through the days, instead of praying and reading my Bible regularly. I have a tendency to alternate between putting my nose to the grindstone and looking for an escape when I don’t feel well. The Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder today and said, “Remember me? Don’t try to do this without Me.” I knew that I had pulled away from God by trying to do my best on my own. When I put God on the sidelines, things just don’t work for me.

But the Holy Spirit had more to tell me. He prompted me to pray to ask forgiveness for distancing myself from God, and also reassured me that God would forgive me immediately. That is key–I had to confess my sin¬†and accept that God wasn’t going to hold it¬†against me. I know that God is faithful, and I know that He forgives completely and ungrudgingly. I have to nurture that part of my faith, because I feel bad about letting God down. But it’s so important not to let your sin keep you from coming back to God again. When God forgives me, it makes me feel healed inside, and then I know there are no barriers between us. I can start new and move forward. So that is what I’m doing now. Thanks for reading, friend!